News / Press Release

U.S. Small Business Administration and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Honor Small Businesses Accelerating Economic Recovery

28th Annual Small Business Awards Recognize 17 Local Entrepreneurs and Small Business Champions in Conjunction with National Small Business Week Observance

LOS ANGELES, CA. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the Los Angeles District Office winners of the 28th Annual Small Business Awards co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 

This year’s competition presents awards to 17 entrepreneurs and small business champions in the Los Angeles area who are helping to power the regional economy and accelerate economic recovery.  The luncheon, awards presentation and networking reception is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17 from 11:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel at 506 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners from various industries competed from Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and were nominated by local trade associations, chambers of commerce and business organizations.  Local winners continued onto the regional and national level with the finalist honored at the White House with President Obama and SBA Administrator Karen Mills.  A full listing of the 2009 award winners with bios is available at:

“The entrepreneurial spirit lies at the core of our Nation's economy and identity…during National Small Business Week, we honor the entrepreneurs and small business owners who are the engine of our economy. Their ingenuity and hard work are critical to our Nation's prosperity,” said President Obama.

“The SBA commends the 2009 winners for their hard work and dedication,” said Alberto G. Alvarado, Los Angeles SBA district director. “Their success is a testament to what can be achieved in the face of adversity and to the innovative spirit of entrepreneurs everywhere.  These local small businesses are pointing the way to our economic recovery."

“Small businesses are a key driver of our economy,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “The L.A. Area Chamber is proud to serve small businesses, and we applaud this year’s award winners for their contributions in helping to accelerate economic recovery.”

The 2009 Small Business Awards luncheon is made possible in part through the contributions of supporters including: Bank of America; Southwest Airlines; Union Bank of California; Wedbush Bank; Wells Fargo; Beach Business Bank; CDC Small Business Finance; East West Bank; Excel National Bank; Royal Business Bank; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; SBDC Lead Center – Los Angeles Regional Network; Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC); Verizon and several other supporting organizations.

The 2009 Small Business Award Winners include:

Small Business Person of the Year
Leonard Ortiz
Lennova (Cerritos, CA)

SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Samira Asemanfar
Bellacures (Beverly Hills, CA)

Innovation Through Technology Business of the Year
Edwin Cheung & Karrie Chan
Rabbit Air (Downey, CA)

Environmental “Green” Conservator of the Year       
Allen Haskell & Herminia Rivera Haskell
Cater Green! Zero Waste Solutions (Los Angeles, CA)

Family-Owned Business of the Year
The Contos Family
Golden Star Family Restaurants (Long Beach, CA)

Small Business Journalist of the Year
Nancy Thyme
Lomita-Harbor Connection (Torrance, CA)

Export Lender of the Year Award
Bernd Hermann
World Trade Finance, Inc. (Glendale, CA)

Women in Business Champion
Jane Skeeter
UltraGlas, Inc. (Chatsworth, CA)

Veteran Small Business Champion
James Cragg
Special Operations Technologies (Carson, CA)

Home-Based Business Champion
Connie Sparks
Wade Institute (Castaic, CA)

Financial Services Champion
Brian Carlson
Excel National Bank (Beverly Hills, CA)

Minority Small Business Champion
Sandy Cajas
Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Long Beach, CA)

Frank Quevedo
Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA)

SBDC Service Center Excellence
College of the Canyons SBDC (Santa Clarita, CA)
Steven Tannehill, Director
WBC Center of Excellence
Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) (Los Angeles, CA)
Jacquelyn Jones, Director

The SBA Los Angeles District Office is ranked “No.1” in the country in lending and oversees SBA programs to over 12 million people in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.  The office manages a total loan portfolio that finances more than 3,700 businesses and nearly $1 billion yearly and generates annual contract procurements of $589 million.  In addition, the District Office supervises seven Small Business Development Centers, coordinates four chapters of the Service Corps of Retired Executives and oversees five Women’s Business Centers.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association in Los Angeles County serving more than 1,600 member companies and the interests of more than 235,000 businesses across the county.  The mission of the L.A. Area Chamber is to ensure full economic prosperity and quality of life in the region by being the voice of business, promoting collaboration and helping members grow. 


The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this cosponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any cosponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2009

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

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Patrick Rodriguez (SBA) 818.552.3222 |
Gwen Oldham (L.A. Area Chamber) 213.580.7532 |